Free-agent guard Courtney Vandersloot is leaving the Chicago Sky, she announced Tuesday night. Here’s what you need to know:
- Vandersloot, the No. 3 pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft, has played all 12 seasons of her career with the Sky.
- The four-time All-Star and 2021 WNBA champion averaged 11.8 points and 6.5 assists per game last season.
- Vandersloot, 33, ranked No. 2 on The Athletic’s list of top free agents heading into this offseason.
I love you, Chicago. 💙 pic.twitter.com/U4FcMcBSmq
— Courtney Vandersloot (@Sloot22) February 1, 2023
Vandersloot, a 5-foot-8 guard, is the face of the Sky after more than a decade with the franchise. She has started every game over the last two seasons, playing a vital role as Chicago won the 2021 championship.
Vandersloot was an unrestricted free agent last season but chose to re-sign with the Sky on a one-year deal. Vandersloot made $195,000 this past season.
The veteran started at point guard in 92 percent of Chicago’s games since the 2011 season. Vandersloot owns the five best seasons in WNBA history in terms of assists per game (during the regular season), setting the league record at 10 assists per game in 2020. During the 2021 season, she was instrumental to Chicago’s title run, dishing out 8.6 assists per game.
Over the last six seasons, she has become the most consistent and reliable point guard in the WNBA, picking apart defenses with her stamina and ability to attack the paint. — Jennings
Vandersloot’s legacy in Chicago
Vandersloot ends her Sky career as perhaps the greatest player in franchise history. Her 12-year tenure in Chicago saw the franchise evolve from a cellar dweller that stars demanded trades from into a perennial playoff contender that was good enough to attract Candace Parker and win a WNBA championship. She had the game-winning bucket of that Finals run, a fadeaway in the dying seconds of Game 4, forever a defining moment in Sky history. Her longevity and consistent excellence — a four-time All-Star and six-time assists leader — leave big shoes to fill for the next Chicago point guard.
Sloot is still a premier point guard, one of the league’s purest passers and a clinical pick-and-roll operator. She has long been considered the heir apparent to Sue Bird on the Seattle Storm, given her roots in Washington, and she would pair wonderfully with a scoring guard who defends at the level of Jewell Loyd. — Merchant
Potential landing spots for Vandersloot
Sloot also took meetings with Minnesota a year ago, where Cheryl Reeve has been trying and to find a Lindsay Whalen replacement for four seasons. Sloot has experience playing with Lynx guard Kayla McBride internationally, and Minnesota is perhaps one quality point guard away from returning to contention with Napheesa Collier and this year’s no. 2 pick in tow.
The splashiest free-agent destination for Sloot would be New York, especially if Breanna Stewart also chooses to move to the Big Apple. The pair have played together for UMMC Ekaterinburg in recent seasons and are poised to join forces for Fenerbahce in EuroLeague next month. Provided Sloot is willing to take a discount at this point in her career, the combined star power of Sloot, Stewart, Jonquel Jones, Sabrina Ionescu, and Betnijah Laney would be rivaled only by Las Vegas. — Merchant
What they’re saying
On Vandersloot’s Instagram and Twitter posts, her captions said “I love you, Chicago.”
(Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski / USA Today)